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Your Winter Beauty Guide

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Brilliant new ways to solve this season's hair, nail, and skin woes.

Fixes for Frostbitten Vixens

When cold weather hits, it's time to take your beauty routine to a whole new level. "If the temperature drops below 40 degrees, the lack of moisture in the air combined with dry indoor heat can cause nails to crack and skin and hair to become dull and lifeless," says Brad Katchen, MD, a dermatologist and founder of SkinCareLab in New York City. We gathered a team of beauty pros and asked them to answer your top questions. Read on to make this your prettiest season yet!

Hair

Q. Why is my scalp flaky when it's cold out?
A. Wearing hats traps sweat and oil on your scalp, which prevents natural skin-cell turnover, according to Pirkko Vaisanen, director of the hair-and-scalp division at Paul Labrecque Salon in New York City. Choose hats that are made of natural fibers like cotton or wool so that perspiration can evaporate quickly, releasing dead skin and sebum. To further prevent skin-cell buildup, massage your scalp with your fingertips daily and use a stimulating shampoo that contains peppermint or eucalyptus weekly. (Try Philip B Peppermint and Avocado Shampoo, $24, philipb.com.)

Q. My split ends are out of control lately. What can I do to keep my hair looking healthy?
A. First, get a trim to eliminate dry ends. Then protect healthy strands by minimizing your hair's exposure to heat. Before you use a blow-dryer, absorb excess water with an ultra-absorbent towel, such as Mimi's Diva Darling Micro Fiber Hair Towel, $12, amazon.com. Apply a thermal spray on fine strands and coat thicker textures with a cream. (Try Nexxus Heat Protexx Spray, $13, 800-444-NEXXUS for locations.) To avoid heat damage, tousle hair with your fingers while applying heat until you've removed 80 percent of the water. "Start styling with a brush once hair is almost dry," says Nick Arrojo, a hairstylist for Wella. Finish with cool air to set your style.

Skin

Q. My complexion gets blotchy and dry when I run or exercise outdoors. How can I protect my skin?
A. Use a rich emollient cream to form a barrier between your skin and the elements. "Cold temperatures and wind can have the same chapping effect on your cheeks and forehead as they do on your lips," says Dr. Katchen. Before heading outside, slather on cream. (Try Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream, $22.50, kiehls.com.) Post-run, boost moisture with a mask that contains hydrating ingredients, such as seaweed or aloe, or humectants, such as hyaluronic acid, which pull water to the skin's surface. (Try MD Skincare Intense Hydra Mask, $60 for six treatments, mdskincare.com.)

Q. My crow's-feet are more noticeable in the winter. What's going on?
A. Fine lines become more apparent when your skin is dehydrated. "To plump them up, you need to increase your skin's moisture level and its antiaging building blocks like collagen and elastin," explains Leslie Villarreal, owner and aesthetician of Relax Now Spa in San Francisco. First, use a cleanser that contains fruit enzymes to gently remove dry surface layers so treatments can penetrate. Next, apply an emollient eye cream like Dermalogica Multivitamin Power Firm for the Eye and Lip Area, $47, dermalogica.com, to instantly restore moisture. At night, use a retinol- or peptide-based treatment like Nu Skin Tru Face Line Corrector, $44.50, nuskin.com, to encourage new, healthy skin growth.

Q. I have tiny red bumps all over my upper thighs and arms. What are they?
A. They're annoying, for starters, but they're actually just a common (and harmless) skin condition called keratosis polaris. When your skin isn't exfoliating properly, hair follicles can become clogged with debris like dead skin cells, sweat, and oil. Dissolve buildup with a topical exfoliating cream that contains urea, glycolic, or alpha-hydroxy acid. (Try DERMAdoctor KP Duty Moisturizer, $36, dermadoctor.com.) "Although you can't totally prevent this condition from reoccurring -- it's typically genetic -- you can improve the appearance of your skin's texture," explains Dr. Katchen. If you have a severe case that isn't healing, visit a dermatologist to get a prescription-strength cream.

Q. Can I use the same sunscreen on the slopes that I used on the beach?
A. You can use an SPF just like you would at the beach, but if your summer version is oil-free, switch to a hydrating formula, since there will be less moisture in the air. Plus, you may want to up the number of your SPF. "At high elevations, use the highest protection value," says Dr. Katchen. Try a broad-spectrum sunscreen that contains Parasol 1789 or avobenze, such as Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Sunblock SPF 55, $9.49, drugstores. For everyday use, try an SPF 30 cream like Purpose Redness Reducing Moisturizer with SPF 30, $12.99, drugstores.

Q. A few days after I self-tan, my legs look scaly. How can I get a better fake tan?
A. You need to exfoliate before and moisturize after applying self-tanner. "Your faux tan starts to look splotchy when the tanning agent, DHA, adheres to rough patches," explains Villarreal. For a flawless application, buff away dead skin cells with an oil-free body scrub (oils can stay on your skin and make your color streaky), such as Origins Modern Friction for the Body, $38, origins.com. After tanning, apply a body cream daily to make your glow last longer. (Try Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Lotion, $5.99, drugstores.)

Nails

Q. Why does my manicure start chipping after a day or two?
A. Your hands, nails, and cuticles are probably super-dry. "Polish can't adhere to nails that are cracking or peeling," says Ann Kwak, a nail specialist at Dashing Diva Nail Salon in New York City. Before polishing, apply a treatment base coat that contains keratin to strengthen nails and help the color adhere. (Try Nailene Miracle Maker, $4.99, drugstores.) Once it's dry, massage in cuticle oil that contains almond oil or vitamin E every day. "Constant hand washing helps kill cold-causing germs, but it can take a toll on your hands and nails," explains Kwak. Lather up with a wash that contains surfactants and moisturizing ingredients that will stay behind on the skin, such as glycerin and soybean oil, instead of drying antibacterial agents. (Try Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Hand Wash, $3.50, drugstores.)

Makeup

Q. I use a powder compact year-round, but in the winter my makeup always looks cakey. What can I do?
A. Switch to a cream compact. Powder tends to collect on dry skin, while creamy textures blend in better. (Try: Proactiv Solution Sheer Finish Compact Foundation, $22, proactiv.com.) "A moisturizing formulation won't clog pores and still creates a matte finish," explains Troy Surratt, global consulting makeup artist for Maybelline New York. If your skin's really dehydrated, apply an oil-free cream before foundation, or use a tinted moisturizer instead.

Q. How can I update my lip color to complement my paler skin tone?
A. Choose a tone that's one or two tones deeper than your summer hue. "When your glow fades, sheer pink and coral glosses won't look right," says Surratt. Stay in your color range (like pink, brown, or red), but opt for a richer, more matte version. For flawless coverage, try a long-wear formula. "Super-stay lipsticks have intense pigments that are flattering during the winter season," says Surratt. (Try Chanel Rouge Double Intensite in Garnet, $30, gloss.com.)

Next:  Winter Trend Alert

 

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